What Is the History of O'Reilly Auto Parts?


Quick Answer

O'Reilly auto parts, an auto supply store serving over 40 states, began in 1957 in Springfield, Missouri. O'Reilly auto parts is a national chain, with over 4,000 stores as of 2015. Although officially established in the late 1950s, the inspiration for the store began during the late 1800s, when Charles Francis O'Reilly, a salesman, saw opportunity for selling automotive products in the St. Louis area.

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Full Answer

Prior to opening a store of his own, O'Reilly worked as a manager at Link Motor Supply, another car parts store in Springfield. His son later joined the management staff, and the pair brought success to the small company. When Link Motors Supply announced plans to move to Kansas City, Missouri, the O'Reillys stayed behind. They opened a store, called O'Reilly Auto Parts, in December 1957.

Unlike many small startups, O'Reilly Auto Parts proved successful from day one. Its impressive resume includes strong sales during its first year and a total annual income over $700,000. The company continued expanding in staff, space, and product sales during the next few years. By the early 1960s, its annual revenue exceeded $1 million.

O'Reilly Auto Parts eventually expanded to nine stores in southern Missouri, and operated retail centers and warehouses. Today, the company continues expanding into new territories. It is one of the 10 largest auto parts retailers in the United States, and has a distribution center in Texas.

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